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28 Jan 2009 : Column 610W—continued

Police Service of Northern Ireland: Recruitment

Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many former Royal Ulster Constabulary police officers have been recruited by the Police Service of Northern Ireland in each of the last five years; and at what cost. [252316]

Paul Goggins: That is an operational matter for the chief constable. I have asked him to reply directly to the hon. Member, and a copy of his letter will be placed in the Library of the House.


Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many prisoners in Northern Ireland were detained as a result of non-payment of fines in each of the last five years. [251274]

Paul Goggins: I refer the hon. Gentleman to the answer given to the hon. Member for East Antrim (Sammy Wilson) on 26 November 2008, Official Report, column 1644W.

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International Development

Afghanistan: Reconstruction

Mr. Holloway: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what the budget of his Department’s provincial reconstruction team in Helmand province has been in each year since 2002; how much has been spent in each year; which organisations have managed the projects undertaken; what monitoring, impact assessments and evaluations have been undertaken in respect of each project in each year since 2002; and if he will make a statement. [245774]

Bill Rammell: I have been asked to reply.

The UK took responsibility for Helmand province through the establishment of a provincial reconstruction team (PRT) in 2006. The PRT combines the efforts of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), Department for International Development (DFID) and the Ministry of Defence (MOD) in a comprehensive approach to development. Accordingly, the PRT delivers reconstruction and development projects from a tri-departmental budget managed jointly by FCO, DFID and MOD. £7.04 million was spent in 2006-07 and £9.99 million in 2007-08 from the Global Conflict Prevention Pool (GCPP). To date, £14.08 million (of a Stabilisation Aid Fund budget of £34.41 million) has been spent in 2008-09. Prior to the establishment of the PRT in 2006, there was no specific allocation of funding to Helmand province.

The tri-departmental funding facilitates a range of projects in Counter Narcotics, Rule of Law, Strategic Communications, Governance, Political activities and Area Based Stabilisation. These projects are administered in Lashkar Gah or London, dependent on the implementing agent. Projects are managed through a range of partners including the Afghan Government, local community organisations, international or local non-governmental organisations or external contractors. Programmes are reviewed and updated monthly by an official in the embassy in Kabul and the PRT in Lashkar Gah. Projects are evaluated at six-monthly intervals.

In addition to this tri-departmental budget, the FCO, DFID and MOD also have individual budget allocations. From its bilateral programme fund, the FCO spent £17,000 in 2007-08 on Helmand specific projects.

Burma: Overseas Aid

John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what funding his Department have allocated to the Thailand Burma Border Consortium for 2009-10. [250797]

Mr. Michael Foster: In December 2008, the Thailand Burma Border Consortium (TBBC) submitted, through Christian Aid, a funding proposal to the Department for International Development (DFID) covering three years from April 2009 to March 2012. DFID is considering this proposal in consultation with Christian Aid, other donors to TBBC and TBBC itself.

Departmental Data Protection

Paul Holmes: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many members of staff in his Department have been (a) investigated, (b)
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suspended and (c) dismissed for losing (i) memory sticks, (ii) laptop computers, (iii) desktop computers and (iv) mobile telephones belonging to his Department in each year since 1997. [248251]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: All losses of the listed items are investigated, however, the Department for International Development (DFID) does not retain records of the number of staff investigated who were neither suspended nor dismissed. No DFID civil servants have been suspended or dismissed for losing such items in this period.

HIV Infection

Mark Pritchard: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development whether his Department funds the use of oral mouth swabs to diagnose acquired immune deficiency syndrome. [250126]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: UK Government funded programmes to halt and reverse the spread of HIV and AIDS in developing countries, cover prevention, voluntary counselling and testing, treatment and care. These funds are typically channelled through budget support at the country level to health programmes or as contributions to the core budgets or pooled funds of UN organisations. Information on disaggregated methods used to test for HIV is not therefore readily available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has reported that in 2007, 96 per cent. of the HIV antibody tests procured through its bulk procurement scheme were rapid tests, which involve a simple blood test taken from a pin prick. No information on uptake of oral tests is available, and WHO makes no recommendation as to their suitability for use.

Middle East: Peace Negotiations

Mr. Moore: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what the grade and salary range was of each member of his Department’s staff seconded to support the Quartet Middle East Envoy in (a) 2007 and (b) 2008; how many such staff at each grade and salary range will be so seconded in 2009; how much his Department spent on such staff in (i) 2007 and (ii) 2008; and if he will make a statement. [248783]

Mr. Douglas Alexander: The Department for International Development (DFID) seconded one member of staff to the Office of the Quartet Representative in Jerusalem to provide expert governance analysis. The secondment began in August 2007 and will finish in January 2010. The post is DFID grade A1. The salary range for the post for 2007-08 was £53,490 to £64,925 and for 2008-09 is £55,814 to £66,873.

The total amount spent on the secondment (including salary and support costs) in 2007-08 was £107,228. In 2008-09 we expect costs to be £190,549.

Palestinians: Overseas Aid

Mr. Ancram: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much direct aid his Department has provided to Gaza in the most recent 12 month period for which figures are available. [249870]

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Mr. Douglas Alexander: UK development aid to the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPTs) is for both the West Bank and Gaza. Although some of our aid is earmarked for activities in Gaza, the majority is given for activities in both Gaza and the West Bank.

In the calendar year 2008, we provided £82.3 million to the OPTs. Of this, the following benefited Palestinians living in Gaza: £6.8 million for immediate humanitarian assistance to Gaza announced on 31 December; £19 million to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) to help Palestinian refugees in the region, including the 70 per cent. of Gazans who are refugees; £2 million to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) for humanitarian assistance; and £50.45 million to the Palestinian Authority which helped it provide essential public services in both Gaza and the West Bank.

As announced on 18 January 2009, the UK has pledged an additional £20 million to help meet needs in Gaza, bringing the total UK response to the humanitarian crisis in Gaza to nearly £27 million since the conflict started.

Sammy Wilson: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development (1) how grant aid from the Government to the Palestinian Authority was used over the last three years, broken down by project; [250447]

(2) how much development aid the Government have given to the Palestinian Authority in each of the last three years. [250449]

Mr. Douglas Alexander: In 2005-06 we gave £13,715,862 to the Palestinian Authority (PA) (including £10 million in emergency budget support through the World Bank Trust Fund); in 2006-07 we gave £14,525,065 to the PA (including £11.875 million through the European Commission Temporary International Mechanism (TIM)); and in 2007-08 we gave £44,143,585 to the PA (including £18.45 million through TIM/PEGASE and £20 million through the World Bank Trust Fund).

The following table shows the support we have given to the Palestinian Authority over the last three financial years, broken down by projects.

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Project 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08

Support to the Palestinian Negotiations Support Unit




Support to the Office of the President


Support to Palestinian Civil Policing


Palestinian Police Support


Governance Support Facility





World Bank Multi-Donor Trust Fund


World Bank Trust Fund


Funding to pay Private sector arrears owed by the PA


Public administration and Civil Service reform




Capacity building on Anti Money Laundering/Counter Terrorism Funding



Unification of Palestinian legislation


Preparation work for Palestinian Recovery Programme


Utilisation of 1997 Palestinian census data


Pro-poor planning


Economic Policy programme


Gaza midwifery


Police Adviser


Aquifer management







Zimbabwe: Overseas Aid

Mr. Ancram: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what estimate he has made of the proportion of his Department’s direct aid to Zimbabwe which has reached its intended recipients in the last 12 months. [249869]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: The delivery of UK aid in Zimbabwe, alongside that of UN and other international agencies, is rigorously monitored and subject to regular reporting, independent evaluation and financial audit. Our estimation has been that UK assistance reaches its intended recipients. When we do hear of any attempt to divert aid, the programme in question is halted immediately while an investigation takes place. However, from 4 June to 29 August 2008, as a cynical and damaging electoral ploy, Robert Mugabe’s regime instituted a ban on the operations of NGOs across the country. During this period, large amounts of international food-aid (including UK contributions) were obstructed; none of this aid was diverted, it was simply not distributed. Other non-food aid—including essential medicines and support to people with HIV and AIDS—was distributed where delivery to intended recipients could be assured.

Since the lifting of the ban, the international community has scaled up its response rapidly to provide vital food assistance to over five million Zimbabweans. Despite this massive operation, rigorous monitoring has been maintained, with few reports of obstruction or diversion of aid, and we are confident that UK contributions are being delivered to intended recipients.


Air Pollution

Mr. Davey: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate he has made of the annual number of premature deaths caused by air pollution in England; and if he will make a statement. [249764]

Dawn Primarolo: There are many uncertainties involved in estimating deaths brought forward as a result of air pollution. Current estimates are being updated, but in 1998, the Department's Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollutants (COMEAP) estimated that 24,000 deaths were brought forward each year due to air pollution in the United Kingdom.

The UK Air Quality Strategy aims to protect against risks to public health from air pollution. Healthy individuals are not thought to be at significant risk of short-term effects from current levels of air pollution in the UK, but associations have been indicated between daily variations in levels of some pollutants and daily variations in mortality and hospital admissions for respiratory or cardiovascular conditions.

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An economic analysis to inform the Air Quality Strategy was published in July 2007. It presents detailed assessments of the additional policy measures considered by the Air Quality Strategy (AQS).

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